August 23

So, just when we figured Danny had pushed his luck far enough with leaving us by ourselves in the hell-hole hotel, he announced that he was going further abroad into China to do some more paperwork related to the old house, and left us to fend again.

Normally, Iím quite happy to have alone time with the girls, but when no one in the city speaks a word of English, and there is no English on signs or menus, that becomes a challenge.  Add to that the crazy-ass traffic in this little city and you find us hotel bound.

Speaking of traffic.  Jiujiang is not for the faint of heart.  There are literally NO rules of the road, except that the bigger your vehicle is, the more right of way you get.  They drive on either side of the road, they use their horns constantly, and they completely ignore traffic lights even where they do exist (and they donít exist in many places.)  I spent quite a long time watching the traffic outside the hotel, in awe that I didnít witness a fatality.  China does, though, have the highest traffic fatality rate in the world for a reason.  You can see in the photos that sometimes a family of five is riding on a motor scooter.  Other times you can see a farm implement that has been modified and is being driven on the road, in the middle of all that, you get huge transport trucks, very over-loaded, and many people on bicycles.  It really is awfully stressful to watch. 

So, in case that wasnít bad enough, no one wears seatbelts in this chaos.  You wouldnít want them to use one of the safety features of the cars, right??   In fact, get this, they actually buy these cute little seatbelt ďfakersĒ.  See the photo?  Mickey Mouse is being exploited!  They put the faker into the seatbelt receiver so that the dumb car doesnít beep to remind them to wear their seatbelt.  For real.  For sale.  In China.

While Danny was out, his cousinís wife had offered to take me and the girls shopping.  Everything is very cheap here in Jiujiang, so it makes it fun.  We didnít actually buy too much, but Stephanie did buy the very fancy pink blouse you can see in the photos!  It was 25 yuan (about $3 CDN) so even though I think itís hideous, sheís happy for $3, so who am I to complain.

Lunch had been arranged at Dannyís cousinís house.  While it was really nice of them to offer, their house has no air conditioning and only a squat toilet.  Oh yeah, and a big wild dog.  And no refrigerated drinks.  Better and better eh?  Actually the food was really nice, and Danny and his cousin had returned so after we all had lunch, it was back to the hotel.  We only had a little time before Danny was yet again taking off with his cousin to some office or another.

Me and the girls walked around to the shops near the hotel, and they found these funny ďBarbieĒ type dolls.  They were cheap as dirt, and the girls were really happy with them, so we got them.

More hours to kill in the hotel room, with the girls playing with their new dolls, and watching the iPads, and playing cards.

Before we went totally crazy, dinner time had rolled around and we were hosting about 25 people for a big meal at the hotel restaurant.  The restaurant (like the rest of the hotel) has been renovated, and we had a really nice private room.  The food was excellent, and the company very good.  I really enjoy seeing everyone get together.  Tonight I really lucked-out too, because Dannyís cousinís daughter in law speaks English, really well.  We sat and talked, and I wasnít left out.  It was a welcome relief for me.  Emily and Stephanie played with their two little friends again, so everyone was happy.  The dinner time passed quickly, and then we called it a night.